RamsTrust member Lord Pendry has asked further questions in the House of Lords, and received a response from the government, which continues to back the fan-led review of English football and the introduction of an independent regulator.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Derby County Football Club and other football clubs, and (2) whether the implementation of the recommendations of the Fan-Led Review of Football Governance, published on 24 November 2021, could have helped to mitigate the financial difficulties experienced by football clubs during the pandemic.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in light of Derby County Football Club’s financial situation, what plans they have to increase fan involvement in football governance; and what discussions have they had with the English Football League on (1) whether alleged financial mismanagement at Derby County Football Club could have been avoided, and (2) what the implications of this are for financial governance in football.
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay replied on 15th February 2022:
The Government continues to engage on a regular basis with the English Football League and the administrator about Derby County Football Club. The additional financial impacts of COVID 19, to the club and to the wider football sector, were significant. We have supported the football sector throughout the pandemic, from the early return to behind closed doors, to provisions for international players and teams to honour their playing commitments, and more recently supporting mitigation for capacity crowds. Furthermore, we distributed over £25 million to National League clubs through the Sport Survival Package which ensured their survival.
The final report of the Fan Led Review is a thorough and detailed examination of the challenges faced by English football now and in the future. Whilst the Government cannot retrospectively intervene, we intend to improve future outcomes for clubs and their communities. The Government welcomes the findings of the Review and has endorsed in principle the primary recommendation of the review, that football requires a strong, independent regulator to secure the future of our national game.
The Government will now consider the detail of all the recommendations, including those made on improving fan engagement and ensuring future financial stability, and work at pace to determine the most effective way to deliver an independent regulator, and any powers that might be needed.
Reference: Fan-led Review of Football Governance